It is fair to say that there is somewhat of a divide between Newcastle fans at the moment. On the one hand, there is a group of fans who are very active in their attempts to protest against Mike Ashley. These are fans who are intent on being pro-active in order to have a positive impact on our club. This does not necessarily come under the banner of the Magpie Group, but merely individuals who are attempting to apply pressure or create negative attention on Mike Ashley and his company, Sports Direct.

On the other hand, there is a section of the support who take the motto of ‘support the team’. They stress that the manager and the captain (and Keegan according to some) want them to get behind the players so they are going to continue to turn up to matches and do nothing to combat the ownership of Mike Ashley at Newcastle United.

Of course there are fans in the middle, who may turn up to games, but also turn up to protests too. These fans are simultaneously combatting Mike Ashley while also doing their bit to support the team.

I am in this middle group of fans. I regularly attend away games and I have a season ticket at SJP too. I attend protests before the game, I write articles online, I don’t buy from Sports Direct, I don’t buy from the club shop etc. However, in general I love going along to watch my team, sit in Block V and get behind the lads regardless of how rubbish they are.

I have read a lot of articles that have been put forward with a divisive tone. Social media is full of divisiveness in regards to this subject. The only thing is, I am not sure why. Surely we all agree that Mike Ashley is a cancer to Newcastle United and needs to be removed as owner of the club.

You would think that was a given wouldn’t you? A conservative estimate would put 99% of people firmly against Mike Ashley. Surely? Right?

Well this is where I am scratching my head. If that is the case, then why are the numbers of people attending protests or taking some sort of affirmative action against Ashley so low?

Some fans are taking the stance of “Oh well Mike Ashley will leave one day so in the meantime I am going to do absolutely nothing while he kills the club and ruins peoples lives all over the country”.

Or “the boycotts and protests probably won’t do anything or have any affect so I am not going to bother making the effort”.

Likewise, I don’t believe that the argument of “I have supported Newcastle for 50 years and I will keep going” is any justifiable reason to sit there and do nothing as the club slowly drifts away into footballing irrelevance. You can still go to the game and combat Mike Ashley.

Of course, some fans want to attend protests but aren’t able to. People have work commitments, people have families, or I think the most common one is that for many people, their only chance to properly socialise is on a Saturday afternoon before the match, so why waste time standing outside the ground holding a banner? To an extent, fair enough.

However, I must admit that the one thing I can’t abide is fans that are doing nothing at all and then complaining about the actions of those fans that are being proactive and trying to make a positive difference. In regards to the cancelled Shirebrook protest, and their actions on social media, it would be an understatement to suggest that the Magpie Group have messed up.

I tell you what though, they may be disorganised and their chairman may be completely unsuitable for the role, but at least they are trying. If you are directing even 5% of your anger towards the Magpie Group after one day of mistakes, rather than Mike Ashley after 11 years of deceit, then I would really have to question where your loyalties lie.

Perhaps one major problem, especially on social media, is that there are several pages with a 1000+ following who think that they are some sort of super fans. Perhaps they are jealous that they are not the ones leading a fan movement and therefore can’t bring themselves to totally get behind it. Who knows.

Likewise, the question must be asked, where is the local media? What are they doing? In particular, the Chronicle? They have been silent. In fact, the silence is deafening. The Chronicle was once of course a great North East institution and you would have to be blind to fail to recognise its decline in terms of influence, and quality of writing, over the last decade. I think we have reached a point now with the Chronicle that they have made clear from their silence that they value access to Rafa, the side, and keeping the club onside, over combatting Mike Ashley, and ultimately doing what is best for the future of Newcastle United.

It all leads to the question of, do people really care? Do people really care about Mike Ashley owning Newcastle United?

From what I have said so far, and from the games I have attended this season, especially since we were promoted back to the Premier League, I would have to conclude that the vast majority aren’t really that bothered about Mike Ashley.

Of course, given the perfect hypothetical choice, or given the twitter poll, they will always side against Mike Ashley, but are they willing to do anything to make their hopes a reality? In short, no.

Home games this season have consisted more of fans directing their anger towards the players on the pitch who are making honest mistakes, the substitutions made by the manager, or refereeing mistakes. None of them, with the exception of a few hundred in Block V, have shown their anger towards Mike Ashley while he sits in the director’s box smirking.

From my experience, too many fans say they are going along to the game to support the team but in the end they just end up groaning, booing and shouting at their own team. In truth, offering very little actual support. The only fans that do offer support, rather ironically, tend to sit in the Strawberry Corner and Gallowgate Block V. Coincidentally, they are generally a part of the protest movements. So I would argue that the fans who are actually supporting the team the most, are the ones who are organising the protests… including the boycott.

It is conceivable that we have now reached the stage in which it can be concluded that most Newcastle fans value results on the pitch over the ethics, principles and morals of their owner.

For instance, if we win away at Everton, and against West Ham, or a positive result away at Burnley, then that will probably affect the attendance of the Wolves game, more than any action Mike Ashley has taken over the past 11 years. That for me, is a sad indictment of where we are at as a support base.

It doesn’t matter how many games Newcastle win between now and the end of the season, it doesn’t matter if we finish 8th, or if we finish 20th, it doesn’t even matter if we win a cup, because Mike Ashley does not care for this club, he does not care for the people of this city.

So some may say in regards to other fans: “let them do what they want”– but if doing what they want means nothing at all… then should other fans stand for it?

I have tried my best not be divisive but here is my honest opinion, and I don’t speak for the Mag, anyone at the Mag, I just speak for myself, so feel free to find me on twitter (@_jonathandc) and tell me what you think…

I have no problem at all if fans do not want to boycott. It is your decision and your prerogative. However, there are numerous other ways in which you can be doing something meaningful to combat Mike Ashley at Newcastle United. Boycotting is just one means, it is not the be all and end all. There are many others including;

Don’t go to the game.

Don’t spend money at the club shop or on official merchandise.

Don’t spend money in the ground on beer or food.

Don’t spend money at Sports Direct or affiliated companies.

Attend protests at Sports Direct and/or SJP.

Carry banners in the game or sing anti-Ashley songs, especially during televised games.

Use social media to highlight the Ashley era and negatives of Sports Direct.

Attempt to engage with local politicians.

Attempt to engage with local and national media.

Even if you can’t, or won’t do any of those things, then verbally, financially or logistically support those that do.

There is ten off the top of my head, that range from time-consuming actions to activities that require no effort at all.

Consequently, if you can read those 10 options, and you are not doing even one of those things, which means you are doing absolutely nothing at all to combat Mike Ashley, then I would say that you don’t really care about Newcastle United.

You can follow the author on Twitter @_jonathandc

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  • Peaky

    Bloody hell that was quick….are you back from Asia already ???

    • Toontaff

      He’s been chased by some ladyboys!

      • Peaky

        It gives a whole new meaning to the song “One Night In Bangkok”….

        • Kenny

          Chicks with Diks

          • Peaky

            🤣😂 Sucky sucky ten dollar….

          • Toontaff

            Looked like a lady, walked like a lady, talked like a lady, kissed like a lady.
            It was only when she drove him to her house and reversed the car into the garage first time……..he thought to himself “hang on a fecking minute…..”

          • Peaky

            😂😂 a new euphemism is born “ reversing the car into the garage”…

          • Rich Lawson

            ”I asked her name and in a dark brown voice she said Lola”

          • Peaky

            Classic….love The Kinks….

          • Peaky

            Whitley Neill blood orange vodka 43%…..£20 in Sainsbury’s from £26…..good stuff…

  • Street

    Hey Jonathan. I’d suggest that unless you’ve been to the home of each and every fan and personally discussed their support of nufc over the years, their current personal circumstances and their reasons for attending or not attending matches, that you keep your mouth shut. Owning a PC with a keyboard does not make you Newcastle’s greatest ever fan.

  • Damon Horner

    Not everybody who follows the football club is politically minded in a football sense so you will always get some who can be perceived as if they “don’t care”.

    Reality is IF the protests/boycotts are a way to secure a buyer or make Ashley take note one way or another then it needs to be continuous and momentum needs to be built, more and more fans will support it if it starts to feel successful, don’t get hung up on what others think of it differs unless you’re directly challenged, if you do your own agenda well, others could be persuaded to come around.

  • toonterrier

    When you’re paying serious money to watch second rate football it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the money is wasted and its better to walk away until we get an owner who wants the club to progress and not survive to fill his pockets. You cant blame Rafa but without backing he’s in limbo. Stay away or maybe go to the games and with a few thousand others walk onto the pitch during the game and watch how it affects the club when the game is stopped then read the press the next day.

  • Steven05

    You want my personal opinion Jonathan? I agree 100% with your article

    Fight for the future of our club – or don’t bother and watch it die

  • Leicester Mag

    Sadly I simply don’t see enough fans boycotting to have an impact. It would seem apathy and mediocrity are the accepted norm. Sad to think we will likely never compete again.

  • mentalman

    Perhaps if protesters became a bit more organised and identified sensible locations for protests more people may get involved.

    People are criticised for going to games by others who claim to be real fans because they boycott home games but go to every away game. Why not boycott the away games? An empty away end will get far more attention than a few hundred dotted around st james’ particularly when clubs are declaring attendances are bigger than they are. If the club don’t know there will be a boycott there will be financial implications for tickets they have requested but not sold.

  • Superdooperhooper

    Jonathan your Facebook page says you work at the US embassy in London yet you’re a season ticket holder at Sjp? How do you manage that ? I live in Walker and I haven’t been to a game in ten years on principle. Start practising what you preach

    • Leazes.

      It does too….. this is an international man of mystery!

      I thought he was MI6….. maybe he is.

      • Superdooperhooper

        Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit leazes

        • Leazes.

          What sarcasm….his mate is presently banged up in the UAE on Spying charges…. don’t you watch the news?

    • Toontaff

      The plot thickens………………

    • Martin Rooney

      His reason for being is to create further hysterical outcrys from the excitable geordies and pi$$ himself laughing as they all jump on like sheep.

  • Down Under Mag

    I think people are just not willing to put themselves out. A good portion of the fan base are so apathetic now that it basically means they turn up like zombies just because they always have.

    I support anyone who says they want to go and support the team and not go with the boycott. BUT, if I hear anyone boo their own players, moan and groan when a ball is misplaced or just refuse to cheer the lads on then they are totally hypocritical – you can’t refuse to participate in action designed to bring about change and then complain that nothing is changing. one or the other peeps…just make sure you know which choice you have made and stick with it!!!

  • t00nraider

    Ashley proved he can spend just hasn’t spent wisely. He god rid of Wise and co and is starting to learn. We should rename st james for more transfer budget.

  • Themoscow72

    What do you care about Newcastle it seems not a lot. What supporter would even consider going on holiday during the season not me. What type of supporter watches Celtic or West Ham not me. It is because I for one care. Mike has put £279m into the club and that is probably £279m more than any other chairman. Rafa and Lascelles have called on the fans to support the club and you have a funny way of going about it. Support the club on December 9th against Wolves. Only 2,327 tickets left as crowd approaches 50,000 with three weeks to go to the game.

  • X2

    Well said, Jonathan. I feel proud to be doing my bit. Ignore those who roll over and die while Ashley screws them (mangled metaphors and a revolting image but you know what I mean). Ignore the Ashley PR mob and general trolls. It all does get to Ashley as shown by the V-sign to Newcastle supporters and his petulant tirade after he was forced to get rid of Keith Hellawell as Chairman of shameful Sports Direct due to shareholder pressure.

    • Pezza

      What if someone thinks the actions of the Magpie Group are detrimental to the club?
      Moreover, detrimental to the aim of ownership change?

      We are unable to post your comment because you have been banned by The Mag. Find out more.

  • Realist

    If people want to go to the match and not protest that’s their decision to make. Is criticizing those who don’t join in the protests the best way to get there support? Many fans despise Ashley and also don’t want to be associated with the so called ‘super fans’.

    • Realist🖕

      Stick your boycott where the sun dont shine.

    • Damon Horner

      I said below that those who want to protest shouldn’t be too concerned with those who don’t, it’s not a civil war within the fan base, the likelihood is if their protests take off more people would accept that and support it themselves, adding to the numbers. Right now though, I can’t see how it will make a difference.

      • Realist

        I didn’t post this. Some sado wrote the post and put my name to it, I suppose this is a possibility when you post as a guest and majority don’t like your stance. I don’t support the boycott and never will.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    “There Seems To Be A Divide At The Moment.”

    The trouble is there has always been a divide as long as I can remember at Newcastle.
    Go back to “The Sack The Board” campaign and you had the same thing back then.

    There has always been two sides of the coin at Newcastle United in terms of fans.

    On one side you have the extremist fan who desperately wants the club to do well, But will not compromise and wants everything done properly or not at all.

    On the other side you have the “Quiet Life Brigade” who do not want to rock the boat and seem to think things will get better eventually without doing anything.
    They look down their noses at the extremists who they think do more harm than good.

    Then you have the extremists who see ” Quiet Life Brigade” as a bunch of milksops who do harm because of their lack of passion and direct action.
    I have heard these people for years who utter the same platitudes that go along the lines of “What Would I Do On Saturdays If…” ?, “I Have Went For Years So I’m Not Changing Now.” etc etc etc

    There has never been any middle ground between the fans and that is why this will always continue unfortunately !

  • Realist

    😂Nice to see somebody has pretended to be me underneath and posted a comment under my name, nice to know I’m in your thoughts whoever it was, sad [email protected]

  • Pezza

    The problem here is the narrow minded approach. The idea that because we’re not protesting makes us less a supporter is none

    • Damon Horner

      Agreed.

  • mactoon

    f you are going to go to the match why not put a message on paper and cover the front sponsor of your shirt, the TV cameras will pick that up. Even if you don’t boycott you can still protest.
    NO INVESTMENT
    NO AMBITION
    NO FUTURE
    ASHLEY OUT

  • TheFatController

    I’ll keep saying it, in today’s world of instant gratification, if you can’t be ‘special’ through reality tv or the lottery, you have to content yourself with being ‘special’ in the hard done to stakes.

    Under Ashley we are hard done to. Probably outside of Blackpool and Charlton, the hardest done to. Manna from Heaven for anyone wanting to play ‘I’m hard done to but my loyalty makes me the most special of all special people’

    No, we’d be special in the eyes of the football world if we all didn’t turn up to make the point “we value decency and honesty in an owner, and enough is enough. Use our great club for non football benefit at your peril…”

    Every club has the fans that want to be ‘sensationally especially hard done to’ ( arsenal and Wenger, Man Utd and not winning the lot) and we have them too. Moaning like it’s virtuous and thinking it makes you special is the biggest addiction out there, just look at social media and see it regularly in evidence …